SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has approved a plan that would ban the use of cell phones while driving.
Senators voted 34-20 Thursday, sending the bill to Gov. Pat Quinn. His spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. The House approved it in March.
The proposal says drivers have to use hands-free devices or use speakerphone features for calls.
Police would be able to ticket drivers holding a cell phone except during emergency situations. Roughly 75 Illinois communities, including Chicago, already ban talking on cell phones while driving.
Bill sponsor Sen. John Mulroe says the bill makes roads safer.
Opponents say the bill is unfair to individual rights and for those who can't afford high-tech phones.
Texting while driving is already illegal in Illinois.
Police are asking for help to find the suspects who robbed a Cahokia gas station overnight.
The Midwest Petroleum convenience store was robbed around 2:30 AM. Three suspects smashed the front windows of the store. The suspects drove off in a blue Chevy truck with an American flag rear window cover. Police say there is damage to the right rear corner of the truck.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Cahokia Police department at (618)337-9505.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A Columbia lawyer says a local ordinance that treats marijuana possession as a municipal violation isn't being followed by Boone County sheriff's deputies patrolling within city limits.
The Columbia-based Missouri Civil Liberties Association says the sheriff and the county prosecutor are disregarding the intent of city voters who approved the change in 2004.
Columbia's ordinance treats possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana as a misdemeanor. Violators are usually released with a summons to appear in court rather than placed under arrest.
Columbia attorney Dan Viets says sheriff's officers are instead arresting pot users in the city under more stringent state laws, and Knight is not downgrading those cases to municipal status.
The sheriff and prosecutor did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
A suspect is in custody after allegedly shooting into a South St. Louis home.
Police were on the scene when they saw the suspect fire several shots into a home near the intersection of Nebraska and Cherokee. Officers chased the man and caught him just a few blocks away.
No one was injured in the home and it is not known why he shot at the house.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Public records show a New Jersey man behind the wheel of a van that overturned on an Illinois freeway, killing five passengers, had his driving privileges suspended last year for administrative reasons.
Fayette County State's Attorney Joshua Morrison says 45-year-old Malcolm Purnell was ticketed after Monday's wreck on Interstate 70 east of St. Louis for improper lane usage and driving with a suspended license.
Illinois State Police have refused to publicly identify the driver, but The Associated Press obtained the citation against Purnell.
Motor vehicle records show Purnell lost his license after failing to resolve insurance issues. His license also was suspended briefly in 2002 after falling behind on child support. The records show no actual driving-related violations over the past decade.
Purnell hasn't replied to AP interview requests.
TROY, Mo. (AP) - One carnival worker is badly injured and another in jail following an altercation in eastern Missouri.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 25-year-old Clint Carelse of South Africa allegedly got into a fight with the victim late Tuesday at the Troy Fairgrounds in Lincoln County. The 22-year-old victim, also from South Africa was stabbed in the abdomen. He is hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
The two men work for the Southeast Amusement Carnival Co. of Farmland, Ind. Police say they were in Missouri working at a fair in St. Charles County.
Carelse is charged with assault and armed criminal action and jailed on $75,000 cash-only bond.
WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AP) - A low-flying military jet from a western Missouri Air Force base clipped several power lines, but officials said no injuries were reported.
The Springfield News-Leader reports that the A-10 Thunderbolt military jet from Whiteman Air Force base hit several power lines crossing Stockton Lake on Wednesday afternoon. A-10 Thunderbolts are single-seat, twin-engine attack jets.
Danielle Johnston, spokeswoman for the Air Force Reserve's 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman, said the plane hit the power lines near the unincorporated town of Bona, which is about 30 miles northwest of Springfield. The jet clipped the lines where they cross the southeast arm of Stockton Lake.
Crews have been working to mark the area with buoys to keep boaters away from submerged power lines.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois legislation allowing public possession of concealed guns has passed the House Judiciary Committee. It was a compromise backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.
The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.
The legislation would require the Illinois State Police to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. It's patterned on a bill introduced by gun-rights advocate Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat.
But Madigan's version significantly adds places that would be off limits to guns. Those include mass transit - a must for violence-weary Chicago Democrats.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Legislation increasing the speed limit on interstate highways in Illinois to 70 mph is headed to Gov. Pat Quinn.
The House approved the bill 85-30 Wednesday. The current maximum speed limit is 65 mph.
Sponsoring Rep. Jerry Costello II says the bill is good for business. The Smithton Democrat says it will allow companies to move their wares more quickly.
Gov. Pat Quinn's Transportation Department opposes the increase. But spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says Quinn will review the bill.
House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says studies show increased speeds result in more crashes and deaths.
But a Jacksonville Republican Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer says motorists heading south avoid Illinois, meaning fewer stops for fuel and food.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have overridden Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of legislation that addresses so-called Smart Grid technology.
The Illinois House voted Wednesday to again approve the legislation, a day after the Senate approved it for a second time. Quinn vetoed it May 6, saying the proposal weakened oversight and forced automatic rate hikes.
ComEd and Ameren pushed the bill to clarify legislation allowing the utilities to raise rates to fund the high-tech system. But the Illinois Commerce Commission and both utilities disagreed over implementation. ComEd filed an appeal over technical matters and faces a lawsuit over installation delays.
ComEd says with the new law the average residential customer will pay 40 cents more a month starting in 2014 and 80 cents more in 2017.